Dear ,

Have we said thank you lately?
Thanks to you -- our members and partners -- we've had a great year!  We restored hundreds of acres at Crest Canyon, Del Dios Gorge, Fairbanks Ranch, Lake Hodges, Lusardi Creek, River Path Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, and the San Dieguito Lagoon. Over 300 enthusiastic hikers completed the first Coast to Crest Trail Challenge. 

Over 200 students participated in our Watershed Explorer's Program in partnership with the San Dieguito River Park JPA, Volcan Mountain Foundation, and the San Diego Archaeological Center. Our Citizen Science program grew to over 280 participants. 

The City of Del Mar is moving forward with studies needed to begin Phase 3 of the River Path Del Mar Project, funded by REI and The Malk Nature Fund; and completion of the Coast to Crest Trail is getting closer to reality! Generous Conservancy members and REI funded the environmental studies and permitting for the Pamo Valley segment of the Coast to Crest Trail to be completed by the end of 2018/early 2019.

We're looking forward to celebrating all these accomplishments--and more--with you at River Valley Fest in October! It's sure to be another fantastic event, and we'd love for you to bring a friend (or two, or three, or...). Share your love for the Conservancy and River Park and show your friends and family what we're all about! Register today!

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Valley! Don't forget to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!
Photo by Aaron Chang
News & Updates
NEW Coast to Crest Trail Challenge!

The Conservancy's Coast to Crest Trail Challenge continues! We have five new hikes for you to complete between July 1st, 2018 and June 30th, 2019. The hikes are:
  • Santa Fe Valley
  • Piedras Pintadas
  • Raptor Ridge
  • Ramona Grasslands
  • Santa Ysabel East Kanaka Flat
Visit the Coast to Crest Trail page for directions and trail maps marked with the "selfie spots" for  each hike. Just like last year, everyone who finishes all five hikes and emails their selfies to will receive a finisher's certificate, sticker, decal, and prizes from our partners: a coupon from REI, Adventure Bucks from Adventure 16, and a patch from Hike San Diego.

Share your Challenge photos using the hashtag #C2CChallenge and you may be featured on the Conservancy's Instagram!
Caught Being Good in the River Park
Thanks to an anonymous individual donation of ten $10 Petco gift cards, the River Park started a program to reward trail patrons "caught being good." Park Rangers awarded the gift cards to trail patrons who were seen keeping their dogs on leash and picking up dog waste.

Dogs off leash and dog waste left behind are two of the most common park rules violations. Rangers and Trail Patrols try to educate the violators of the risks to their dog, other trail users, and the environment, but that's not always enough. This program hopes to use positive reinforcement to encourage people to abide by the park rules for the good of all. Who knows, you might be the next one "caught being good" and receive a gift card that rewards you AND your furry friend(s) for following the park rules!
Here are some of our outstanding trail users that received the gift cards.

Jun, Adam and their dog Ringl at Dust Devil Nature Trail. Ringl was leashed, and they were carrying their doggy bags out with them.
Peter and his four Australian cattle dogs at the San Dieguito Lagoon.
Malik, Sage, and their husky-shepherd mix Boady. It was their first time out on the trail and they were excited about getting the gift card.
Sandy with her golden retriever Hugo. She said she hikes the trails all the time and always keeps her dog on a leash.
Dan and Beth with their two sons, Daniel and Matthew, and dog Bailey at the Horsepark.
Carol and her dog Charley at the San Dieguito Lagoon.
Trail patron and her dogs on the Highland Valley Trail.

The River Park staff hopes to continue this incentive program and encourages other individuals or businesses to contribute.  If you are interested in contributing to this program, please contact Office Manager, Brenda Miller at or (858) 674-2270.
ESP Program Returning in Fall
The Conservancy's popular Exploring Our Sense of Place program is officially open for registration!

Participants, or "explorers," will experience the San Dieguito River Valley and watershed in all seasons. The path begins at Volcan Mountain in Julian and continues through the valley to North Beach, Del Mar. Many of the excursions include areas that are not open to the public. Hikers are exposed to the area's history, geology, native inhabitants, plants, and wildlife.

Exploring Our Sense of Place includes eight excursions, which are held monthly from September 2018 through May 2019. Each excursion will feature an expert on topics like Mammals & Tracking, Native Americans, Botany, and more.

The program cost is $250 per person or $450 per couple. Visit for more details and to register!

Birds Get a Second Life in Education
Life in nature is tough for wild animals and they face many dangers. This is certainly true for birds. When birds are found who have recently died, the River Park will sometimes attempt to save them to be stuffed and preserved by a taxidermist. The stuffed birds are then put on display and used for outreach events to educate the public about native wildlife.

Recently, Rich and Kathy Rich Brubaker, residents of Rancho Bernardo, found a dead barn owl in their backyard. This owl was a resident who lived in an owl box at a nearby home. There were no obvious signs of trauma except for blood coming from the mouth, which often indicates secondary poisoning from a poisoned rodent. Kathy, who recently attended an interpretive presentation by an SDRP Ranger at the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, saw our animal display with some of the Park's current animal collection. After finding the dead owl, she decided to call us to pick it up. If the owl can be preserved, it will join an Acorn Woodpecker and Valley Quail that are currently being prepared for display. That will make three birds that are given a second life through outreach and education.

Note about who people should contact if they find dead wildlife in/near the watershed?
High Tech High Interns with the River Park & Conservancy
Hello readers! I'm the River Park intern, Dominic Colarusso, currently a student enrolled at High Tech High. I was able to intern here for four weeks through a unique program our school offers, which both helps out the San Dieguito River Park and gives me experience in this job field.

I love nature, and I really enjoyed hiking trails when I was younger. I chose to intern here so I could have a chance to experience trails again and see if I want to pursue this line of work in the future. And after nearly four weeks of interning here, I have a newfound passion for this field. I was able to experience and learn from many different tasks, such as trail construction/maintenance, habitat restoration, patrolling, and plant transportation. I would like to thank the San Dieguito River Park and all of the rangers working here to take me through this experience, and help me learn some skills and information that will help me in the future.
photo by Justin Salazar
Between May 15th and June 15th, Justin Salazar, a rising senior at High Tech High School in Point Loma, completed a 160-hour internship with the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. 

Justin's primary role with the Conservancy was to review and organize the last six months of Citizen Science data collected by Conservancy volunteers. Justin successfully processed the entire backlog of 2018 Citizen Science data during his internship, greatly assisting Conservancy Conservation Manager Jonathan Appelbaum in meeting the Conservancy's Citizen Science program goals. 

During his internship, Justin also represented the Conservancy at events such as A Ship In the Woods, co-led community hikes, and participated in several other Conservancy events (e.g. National Trails Day at River Path Del Mar). We are grateful to Justin for his contributions and wish Justin the best as he explores college options and enjoys a well-deserved summer vacation.
River Valley Fest 2018 is on October 14!

Invite your friends and family! The River Valley Fest is a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to the Conservancy and the work we do in the San Dieguito River Valley!

We need your help to "fill in the gaps" of our silent and live auctions!

Do you or someone you know have a vacation home, air miles, unused gift cards get the donate? It's easy. Download this form , fill it out, and email it to us at or mail it to:
3030 Bunker Hill Street, Suite 309-1
San Diego, CA  92109

Donated items must be new merchandise, a service, or package of items valued at $100 or more. We will contact you to confirm whether your item will be included in the silent or live auction.
Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Monique Vargas and her son August at the Bernardo Summit
76 people completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in June!

Congratulations to:

Lisa Ruder
Dana Hartley
Debbie Bamford
Andy Prouty
Christa Woodard
Kathy Thorbjanarson & Teresa Baggot
Chuck & Sandra Berry (and their dog Radar)
Jamie & Chris Nastav
Julie Perry
Harvey Fiji
Anel Rahbari
Marjolein Legge-Beekman
Jamie Channell Guzman
Jayne Bersabe
Fritz & Brandon Steen
Max & Grace Ludena
Nicole & Addison Welling
Zack Pelazini
Jordan McLaughlin
Amy Murray
Jim Thorpe
Sharon Talbott
Leslie & Adley Daffer
Lauren Forbes
Eric Helle
Anil, Tavish, & Siraj Vutukuru and Kalpana Tula
Kerry Ensberg
Love Lee Marmito
Maris Monis & Glenna Abraham
Wade Booth
Dan & Matt Gyokery and Molly Miller
Nicole & Briana Dominick
Vicki Bautista
Monica Demier
Sandy & Denis Morin
Sharon Grove & Sally
David, Natalie, & Emma Skillings
Elena Pyuvi
Jaren D'Onofrio
Kim Scott (a 2-time finisher!)
Lori & Rodrigo Baca
Elizabeth Alvarado
Monique & August Vargas
Angela Gutzmer, Megan Manlove-Smith, Kate Giorgio, & Trisha Bear
Audrey Palisoc
Frank Grant & Diane McGrath
Michael & Lynne-Marie Friedrichs
Slader Buck
Yu-Hsin Liu & Chich-Hsiang Ko
Sandra Lambarri
Diane Estelle
James Griffiths
Christina Wang
Chelsie Giambrone
Tatiana Watkins
Naomi O'Connor & Bobby Bedford
Laura Hanley & Rose Ader (and dog Trigger)
Norma Souza
Jan Wahl
Grace Arciaga

And...that's it for the first Coast to Crest Trail Challenge! Over 300 of you finished the Challenge -- Wow! And thank you! We love seeing your photos and hearing your stories about the Challenge -- from discovering new favorite trails to getting to enjoy adventures with family and friends to observing the flora and fauna of the River Park! 

What do you think...600 finishers for Round 2??

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.
Coming Up in July
7/7 - Wonders of the Watershed
Eleanora "Norrie" Robbins, a geologist and lecturer at San Diego State University, who spent more than three decades with the U.S. Geological Survey, will take us through a virtual tour of the geology of the San Dieguito Watershed. Discover more about our watershed through the wonders of geology and more!

Norrie was awarded a Point of Light by the George Bush I administration in 1989; she was the recipient of the Times Enekin award from the Greek Aerospace Medical and Space Research Association in 2000; and she and her family were inducted into the International Educator's Hall of Fame in 2015.

Note: Limited parking available, early arrival is recommended.

Please email Ana Lutz, Education Manager at with any questions.

When: Saturday, July 7th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Del Mar Branch Library

7/21 - Gonzales Canyon Clean-up
San Diego Canyonlands and City of San Diego Open Space Park Rangers are hosting a trash clean-up on Gonzales Canyon this month! They will be cleaning a dump site there, so they need lots of hardworking volunteers! Bring gloves, sun protection, and water.

Email Sami Collins at or visit the San Diego Canyonlands events calendar for more information.

When: Saturday, July 21st from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where: Sword Way Trailhead

7/21 - Seashore Splash
Life is tough in the tidepools! With the guidance of Living Coast Discovery Center, children will discover some of the crazy ways tidepool animals are adapted for the rocky shores. With hands-on interaction, students will be able to touch, see, and discover what it takes to cling to a slippery home.

After the presentation, the Conservancy will lead you on an optional, easy, 2-mile round-trip hike around the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Directions: From I-5 Take Via de la Valle exit and go east. Turn south on San Andres Drive and turn left into driveway to the Staging Area. Allow about 5 minutes for a short hike from the trailhead to the Birdwing Open Air Classroom.

This event is generously underwritten by The Solana Beach Fund at Coastal Community Foundation and SDG&E.

When: Saturday, July 21st from 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom
Cost: This event is FREE. SPACE IS LIMITED TO 50 PEOPLE.

7/28 - Hike for Health
How do you maintain a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit? Through hiking of course! Join the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and UMTR2ME (You Matter 2 Me)  for a beautiful stroll next to the San Dieguito Lagoon while we discuss the importance of mental health. We will observe some of the most unique natural resources within San Diego County and end our hike with a self reflection/meditation period.

Is this your first time hiking? Perfect! The hike is a flat trail suited for most adults-1.5 miles out and back.

Suited for ages 18 and up. Questions? Please email Ana Lutz at

Directions: From I-5 Take Via de la Valle exit and go east. Turn south on San Andres Drive and turn left into driveway to the Staging Area.

When: Saturday, July 28th from 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Where: San Dieguito Lagoon Staging Area

7/26-29 - Shakespeare's Cymbeline at the Birdwing
The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents the student-acted production of  William Shakespeare's  CYMBELINE, d irected by Benjamin Cole. There will be eight performances of this special production: four at the Birdwing Open Air Classroom, and four at La Colonia Park in Solana Beach!

Imagine Snow White mixed with Romeo and Juliet in Ancient Britain, but with a happy ending! The beautiful princess Imogen loves the peasant Posthumus, but her father, King Cymbeline, is warped by her wicked step-mother. Posthumus is exiled. While abroad, Posthumus bets on the loyalty of his love whom a rival, the creepy Iachimo, wishes to test. Imogen remains true, but Iachimo's lies prompt Posthumus to enlist his servant, Pisanio, to coax Imogen to run away with him to the forest and kill her. Imogen is eager to flee Britain and quickly plots her escape disguised as a boy. Abandoning Pisanio after he is unable to kill her in the woods, Imogen finds refuge with other woodsmen who had fled the King's unjustified tyranny. Ultimately, evil is punished and love is restored through the power of forgiveness.

Run-time: 2 hours,1 Intermission.

Suggested rating: PG13 - recommended for grades 6th & up, but all audiences may enjoy. 

All performances are FREE and open to the public!

When: Thursday - Sunday, July 26th - 29th at 6:00 pm
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom

July Events

Sundays, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29:
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market & Farmhouse Tours
Wednesday, 7/4:
Saturday, 7/7:

Wonders of the Watershed
Sunday, 7/8:
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count

VMF 2018 Sustaining Friends Summer Mingle

Saturday, 7/14:
Furry Friends Hike
Sunday, 7/15:
Nature Touch Table

Yoga at the Birdwing

Saturday, 7/21:
Trash Cleanup in Gonzales Canyon

Seashore Splash
Sunday, 7/22:
Wildcrafting: Summer White Sage Wreaths
Sunday, 7/29:
Nature Touch Table

What Happened in June
National Trails Day with REI & Hike San Diego  

We celebrated American Hiking Society's National Trails Day by teaming up with REI and Hike San Diego to do some trail restoration at the River Path Del Mar! Thanks to the volunteers who showed up to remove weeds, water and mulch new planted native flowers and shrubs, and remove invasive plants. 

After all that, we toasted our hard work at Viewpoint Brewing!
photo by Felix Costa
Hidden Hike at Lake Sutherland

We had a wonderful adventure exploring the area around Lake Sutherland last month! We were lucky enough to see mule deer, wild horses, snowy egrets, great blue herons, golden eagles, and even a bald eagle!